Ceding ground to capitalist ideologues

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Wed Dec 15 07:21:08 MST 1999

>the objective of finishing with an enemy position, liquidating it. Not of
>involved in an endless pas-de-deux of ritual wit and repartee.

I don't know. I certainly wouldn't write something like this myself, but I
do find it effective:

>The meeting was open to the world, and there were no secrets
>involved. It was a discussion about the WTO. The sectarians were
>making points I'd agree with - e.g. that the focus should be on
>capitalism and imperialism rather than just the WTO itself - but in a
>horribly robotic and alienating way. Anyone who stood in front of a
>rank & file union or other popular but unconverted audience and
>talked that way would be tuned out in an instant.

You have long championed the virtue of psychoanalysis against churlish &
curmudgeonly skeptics like Carrol, and your eloquence has made me a
convert, so here's my psychoanalytic reading of your relationship with

A:  You feel ashamed & embarrassed to find your thoughts clothed in the
untutored rhetoric of "sectarian" autodidacts.  Familiar made strange --

B:  It's like running into your urbane friends when you are escorting your
old-fashioned country cousin around New York City.  You have been a New
Yorker for decades, but you fear your Garden State roots might still show.
You must act as if you didn't know your country cousin.  In case you'd be
cast out as "one of them."  Likewise, your shame makes you distance
yourself from "sectarians," making fun of them before others get around to

C:  Tragically, it's only "sectarians" who actually agree with you, for
neither non-Marxist union members (be they officials or rank & file) nor
Brad DeLongs think that American imperialism exists and must go and that
capitalism must be abolished, though they might "listen to" you
respectfully.  You mourn your rejection, and the rejection by the
"mainstream" is abjected -- and the abjects are "sectarians," not you.

D.  "Practically everything I write on political economy is influenced by
Marx, but I rarely use the received language. (I do like throwing in
'bourgeoisie' or 'capitalist hyena press' every now and then, for  shock
value.) I find people listening to me, and maybe even agreeing  with me,
who might well have stopped listening if I'd sounded like a party paper."
Why doesn't anyone speak like me?  The mirror stage, the imaginary,
narcissism, and aggression.  Down with Sectarians!

Cruelty -- your name is psychoanalysis.  M. Henwood, c'est moi!  Hypocrite
lecteur, - mon semblable, - mon frère!


Louis Proyect

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